There are these little rituals- like making a wish at 11:11 or blowing out candles- that I know do not equate with the stars aligning or the miraculous work of God, but rather, little fun ways of seeing light in the darkness. They’re not the end all be all of what I put my hope into, but they do pose as little reminders to keep hope going bit by bit.
In the midst of my 21 day fast, that’s what lucky pennies have been for me. They’ve been symbolic of luck and blessing and fortune, and they’ve been tiny keepsakes of the hope that is to come. So, every time I see a penny with Abraham Lincoln facing the sky, I pick it up, hold it tight, and remind myself that God is going to do something good. Because over the course of this 21 day fast I’m removing things in my life and filling that space with God. I’m praying, believing that God is going to enter into that space and transform my life. More than just a luck of a penny, I’m praying for the goodness and blessing of God.
And so far, God has not let me down.
- (January 09) I take full and complete responsibility for the hole I’ve dug myself into. I don’t deny that I live a life I can’t afford. But instead of God kicking me to the curb and saying “figure it out” He gave me a second chance. He picked me up and said, “Here, try again.” And so instead of paying off a credit card bill, I’m paying off a personal loan with significantly less interest.
- (January 12) Every dollar has value, and in this season of learning to be more financially responsible I’ve held every dollar with clenched fists. To the point that even paying for a church event put my stomach in knots. But even then, God shows up when you think that a problem might be too small for Him to worry about. Girls night at church paid for through a sponsorship.
- (January 13) Spending money on eating out is what I grew up with. It’s as familiar to my lifestyle as brushing my teeth before bed. But it’s not necessary, and it’s not what I should be doing when I’m trying to save money. So, when a friend asked what groceries I need and volunteered to pay for them, I didn’t take it lightly. God puts people in your life to support the plans He’s trying to fulfill through you.
- (January 17) One dollar raise (per paycheck not per hour). It’s a measly amount in the greater scheme of things and it won’t make much of a difference in my day to day life, but it was an unexpected gift. Something I didn’t know was possible. Something I couldn’t have foreseen. Something I didn’t even ask for yet received anyways. God didn’t make me a millionaire, but He reminded me that He is still blessing me. In the smallest but mightiest way, He did immeasurably more than what I did not ask for nor imagined.
- (January 17) There’s a bank account I had completely forgotten about. A bank account that had money deposited in it but has never been touched. Enough money to give me peace of mind and not stress out about paying off four months of student loan payments. God is always looking out for us even when we don’t realize it.
- (January 20) Speaking of student loans… There are eight loan accounts that I’ll officially have to start making minimum payments for in February. I did the math- or at least I thought I did- and each minimum payment added together totaled to quite a lump sum of money. So, I planned and I prepared for the toll it would take on my bank account, but when time came to make my first payment, the total was half what I had expected it to be. Make plans all you want, but God really knows what is going to happen. And it’s better than what we could have planned for ourselves.
- (January 24) A big reason behind why and how I dug myself into the hole that I’m currently in is because I have a problem with shopping. So, it should come to no surprise that one night I found myself perusing the online options for Madewell. What was surprising, though, was that they were opening up a new store on Oahu. Before I could bring myself back down from my excitement, my job application was completed. One week later I was called in for an interview, and two weeks after submitting my application I was hired as a sales associate. I landed a job at the store I spend all my money at. Sometimes God aligns paths that you didn’t even know were capable of coming together. Now I’ll be making extra money on the side, and saving money on clothes I would have bought anyways with my employee discount.
- (January 25) My uncle and auntie came from Texas to visit. They had every intention to eat their way through Oahu, but little did they realize I would be doing no eating until after 6 PM. At lunch they were amazed at my restraint and how I could sit there and watch them eat while sipping on my beet juice. What they didn’t know- and what I couldn’t explain to them- was that my fast wasn’t merely a diet or a form of torture in obedience to Christ… It was a way of giving up something and trusting that God would do something in return. Later that night my uncle and auntie gave me a late Christmas gift, and the money they gave me made me realize that momentary satisfaction will never be more valuable than the promise that God is trying to pour out over us. They ate every one of my favorite meals without me, and I could have caved in. But at the end of the day, they blessed me in a way that brought so much more peace and provision than a plate of garlic shrimp.
Then it got to a point where I didn’t need God to do anything else. Now don’t get me wrong- I will receive blessing upon blessing, but God had shown up so evidently in my life that I couldn’t deny He was doing something wonderful for and through me. In ways that I didn’t even think were possible, He showed up. I gave Him a piece of my life, and He gave me countless miracles in return.
Sometimes it can be hard to give up control or comfort for the unknown and vastly unbelievable will of God. For me it’s always been hard to say, “Here God take this part of my life that I have meticulously calculated down to the tee” and it’s typically with a tight jaw and feet firmly planted that I finally let go. But when I do, God doesn’t disappoint. He goes above and beyond, and reaches farther and wider, and does everything I never thought possible. When I let go and let God, I’m not betting on a 50/50 win or lose; I’m putting my hope into even better and even greater and even luckier.